Monday, February 22, 2010

Be As a Bird

Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.
- Victor Hugo
This morning a mystery songbird graced me with its melody. Much as I tried to catch a glimpse and identify it, it was nowhere to be seen. It was a balm for the soul.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Good Bad Week (or Sunday Gratefuls)

This past week at work was rough and left me drained on most days, sapped of energy to do anything other than crash in bed or in front of the TV. That made it a bad week.

But it was a good week too, 'cause even if work was draining so many good things transpired for which I am grateful:

  • sharing powerful moments of hope and tears with a friend over sunny weather drinks on a gray February day
  • finding a house to rent that meets most of the criteria D. and I listed on on our wish list, seeing it, sleeping on our decision to go ahead with it then signing the lease
  • after acknowledging that work isn't going so well, finding the courage to talk to my boss about switching projects, confronting my fears of failure and letting people down because I know it's the right thing to do
  • celebrating another friend's major milestone, witnessing how powerfully inspiring one can be by simply doing the right thing one day at a time
  • getting an unexpected $150 back-pay cheque (woohoo!)
  • curling up with D. and Cassie on a Sunday morning to watch Montgomery Clift in a Hitchcock movie that was filmed in one of my favourite places, Old Québec City, and being inspired by Hitchcock's cinematography to fish out my photos of Old Québec and play with post-processing
  • finding a pair of sexy tall black boots that fit my, ahem, thicker calves (#10 on the list) and a bonus pair of funky tall rain boots
  • opening myself to the possibility that I still have some healing to do from my separation six years ago and that it's OK
  • reading about the hiking trails of New Brunswick, identifying which ones we could explore during the summer vacation we're considering and getting pumped about hiking again
  • for the first time in months (years?), feeling a soupçon of the confidence and zest for life I felt when I was on sabbatical in my funky little apartment downtown
If those aren't enough to make this bad week good I don't know what possibly could.

Till the next time...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Catch-up Post

[Warning: It’s long.]

~ D. and I were asked if we’d consider moving out of the house we’re renting two months earlier than planned, for June 1st. We will, and after agonizing over the “Do we buy or do we rent again?” question for weeks we decided on renting. So now we search. Knowing that I’ll be moving in less than four months but not knowing where has me discombobulated. Home is an important piece of my foundation and when it’s threatened I get agitated. I would be a sucky nomad.

~ My sweetie gave me a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, Committed, A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, for Valentine’s Day. He’s a keeper, non? It does beg the question though if he thinks I'm a skeptic when it comes to marriage; maybe last year’s post-proposal cold sweats in the middle of the night gave it away. Yet here I am trusting, risking and loving, seeing where this nuptial ride will take me – where it will take us. I can't wait to delve into the book.

~ My return to work after two months off isn’t going as well as I hoped it would. After five weeks back I am snippy, intolerant, impatient, and feel just about how I felt before I left last October to rest. Surely there’s a lesson to learn here. In the meantime I don’t know how to deal with it; it’s leaving me exhausted and drained.

~ Last week I enjoyed dinner with a dear friend of mine. Afterward we popped over to a favourite new age bookstore I used to frequent, but hadn’t in a long time (you know the kind: tarot cards, incense, etc.), Maybe it was the incense, maybe it was the crystal bowls chakra chants or maybe it was seeing calendars by fellow Squammette Liz (so cool!), but for the first time in months I felt a few moments of inner peace. It was bliss.

~ D. and I enjoyed an amazing weekend at a luxury château in the woods. Posh yet not pretentious it was balm for the soul. Sipping chocolate-sprinkled hot chocolate beside a three-storey six-sided fireplace is definitely the way to go. Before reaching our woodland destination we caught an exhibit by J.W. Waterhouse at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The highlights: watching D. – who is much more familiar with Waterhouse’s work than I am – scurry from one painting to another saying “Come see this one! And this one!”, and seeing the original version of the Waterhouse reproduction on display in our guest room.

~ On this morning's commute to the office someone behind me honked, gesturing for me to hurry up. Without even blinking I look straight at him in my rear view mirror, broke into a wide grin and waved vigorously. It cracked me up. The guy behind me not so much. [grin]

~ The registration for Squam Art Workshops opened last week. After attending two years in a row I’m not sure if I’m going this year, but I highly recommend it! I have a soft spot for the fall session m’self. Not only is the focus on visual arts appealing, but New Hampshire in September is divine.

~ January 25th quietly marked my four year blogging anniversary. I started an Urban Living Experiment when I moved to a sweet apartment in a 1920s walk-up after separating from my then husband; when I started the blog I had no clue where it would lead me. Truth is, today I feel I'm at a blogging standstill and that my writing's gone stale. I have plenty of ideas including a fun (OK, what I think would be a fun) snail mail social networking experiment and I’ve had draft posts in the wings since September. I bought a URL and have a partially revamped blog waiting to come out. There’s just no juice to make it happen. I’m not ready to give up though so I carry on, one post at a time.

Catch-up complete. Till the next post…

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pausing for Activity and Repose

I'm off for a bit of mid-winter chillin'. In the meantime I leave you with a quote that's been with me for a few weeks now, just waiting for an excuse to be posted. I figure a getaway blending activity and repose is as good as an excuse as any.
"We must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose."
- Indira Gandhi
See you on the flip side.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February Gratefuls (or The Anti-Blahs)

The February blahs seem to be rearing their ugly head already and I think a list of things for which I am grateful would be a good antidote, alors voici:
  • warm wool blankets
  • sunshine and blue skies
  • a fridge full of food
  • paint and canvases and cardboard
  • a home to shelter me from the cold
  • a new-to-me butterfly jigsaw puzzle
  • hot chocolate
  • peppermint tea
  • art magazines
  • a 1950's teaching book called Natural Science Through the Seasons
  • a 1937 Film Pictorial Annual inscribed "June Timms, Christmas 1936"
  • my laptop
  • classic movies
  • my black patent leather (vinyl?) mary jane ballerina flats
  • an upcoming field trip to Montréal with the Mad Chatters, a discussion group I'm a part of that's been going strong for over four years (can't say the same for our blog though - oops!)
  • an upcoming weekend getaway with D. to Château Montebello with a possible detour to Montréal to catch a Waterhouse exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (LOVE that place)
  • a potential trip to NYC in the works
  • D.'s arms - he's cozy
  • Cassie's soft golden fur - she's cozy
  • being surrounded by coziness
  • my family
  • my friends
  • the opportunity to heal hurts that still linger
  • this space, this blog
  • chickadees and blue jays
  • Pinot Grigio
  • my eight year old Honda Civic
  • find-a-words
  • I'm going to be an auntie to a new niece come March (yay!)
  • Squam Art Workshops and the wonderful connections it brought me, how it opened me up to deep friendships, creative community and possibility
  • my library
  • a book on Canadian painting I found there a few weeks ago
  • dinner plans with a dear friend at a favourite vegetarian restaurant
  • Mad Men
  • a paycheck
  • my home office and whiteboard
  • possibility
I could go on.

Tonight's score: Steph 37, Blahs 0.